PMS software definition
PMS stands for “Property Management System”, which is a software platform that allows streamlining front-office and back-office operations, such as reservations, fast mobile check-in, billing, housekeeping, accounting, etc., irrespective of the scale. As a result, the guest receives an impeccable experience, and the property – a smooth workflow. Modern PMS software not only facilitates front-desk work but also encompasses virtually all aspects of accommodation management and helps boost sales, improve employee satisfaction, and win customer loyalty.
What’s the difference between PMS and HMS?
Apart from PMS, you’ve probably come across such an abbreviation as HMS. It means “Hotel Management System” – the one that is tailored to the specific needs of hotel businesses. While PMS remains a broader term, describing any kind of software that assists people in the management of any kind of property.
Such systems can be used in accommodation management businesses, real estate, logistics, and manufacturing. As well as in any other business where it is necessary to ensure a perfect continuity of personnel and inventory management. These systems allow you to organize and automate all daily operations, transactions, reports, costs, and expenses.
With that in mind, HMS actually is a PMS that was made for solving the daily challenges of hotel management. The main components of HMS include a digital Front Desk, a Booking Engine, and a Channel Manager. A good HMS is typically a comprehensive hotel management software that automates all the routine tasks that could arise. There are a lot of platforms on the market to choose from, and you definitely need to find the best one.
The Hotel Management System that really worth your attention would not only allow you to accept bookings. It also enables you to handle accounting, accept payments, manage housekeeping staff, and optimize marketing campaigns. The main advantage of this kind of software is that you won’t need to use many separate programs with different interfaces. Everything you need will already be in one solution, with all the info stored in a single database.
Why do you need a PMS: main features and functionality
The ultimate function of any PMS is to automatically consolidate data from all hotel departments for unified control, better decision-making and eliminating paperwork. Program integration (or interfacing) with external third-party systems, such as payments processors or revenue managers, is its fundamental feature. Therefore, further incorporation of digital marketing platforms, energy efficiency, reputation management systems, etc., is the evolutionary way for PMS that will create even more value for hoteliers.
Here are some of the main components that an efficient Property Management System for hotels must have:
● Reservations & Front Desk functionality enables a hotel to accept and manage online bookings with no manual input. This is a core part of any Hotel Management System, which usually works in a bundle with the website Booking Engine and other sales channels. It holds all the important information about your room inventory, prices, and occupancy.
The Reservation’s interface was made for you to easily collect payments and automatically schedule new bookings in the calendar. It also helps property managers to view and change room status, check guests in and out (via App or a Self-check-in kiosk), and send automatic confirmation or follow-up emails.
● Distribution Channels Management ensures consistency of your room prices and availability across all connected online sales channels.
A Channel Manager is synchronized with your Property Management System for instant updates of the room info on various OTAs & GDSs. It eliminates the need to update prices, cancellation policies, and inventory on each of the many channels that you use. It also protects your hotel from price discrepancies, booking errors, and overbookings.
● Deal Management functionality helps you to easily create special offers and increase financial yield from new bookings. Did you know that the guests who book deals pay your property 30% more in average ADR than those who make regular reservations?
That's why you need to create tailored offers and show them to the right guests regularly. This module helps hoteliers to combine services with overnight stays for yummy thematic offers just in a couple of minutes. If the Deal Manager is integrated into the system, you will be able to target specific guests with such offers via personal Booking Offer emails.
● Staff Management software allows you to grant a certain degree of access to the system according to the employee’s role. For example, you can set up special permissions for your Front Desk agent or let your cleaning staff only access the list of chores and work chat. In addition, this module will help you to organize shifts, assign tasks to the teams or create automatic tasks associated with the guest's order.
● Accounting & Invoicing functionality makes financial processes easier for both hoteliers and employees. It helps in maintaining tax-compliant bookkeeping, as well as creating invoices, payment management, and tracking key financial performance indicators. This software can simplify revenue management and increase guest conversions.
● Reporting & Analytics module allows hotels to automatically generate reports for consistent data analysis. It is used to get new insights on hotel performance and monitor key productivity indicators in real-time. Depending on the provider, hoteliers can receive automatically generated Financial Reports, Management Reports, Guest Reports, and Daily Reports (e.g. on check-ins and check-outs, no-shows, cancellations), and view important hotel statistics as a brief summary.
● CRM and guest management help you to gather and store all guest data. While keeping personal details and contact info or notes about allergies, it helps you to personalize your guest’s stay. Having an organized database of customer info can help you to improve your marketing strategies and target certain types of guests with special deals. This part of the system must seamlessly integrate with your Front Desk and Reservation system to collect information without any need for your extra work.
● Native Mobile App that syncs with all parts of the PMS is a big advantage for a hospitality business. Judging from the experience of large hotel chains, it can significantly improve the guest's stay. From online check-in that takes just a minute to the ability to book and pay for any service, it makes it much easier to provide a first-class service. In addition, an application that supports multiple languages helps foreign guests feel much more at ease, eliminating any language barriers so that they could enjoy all the benefits to the fullest.
● Point-of-sale & Order management to make profit from the hotel's amenities. To get revenue, the hotel needs its own point of sale and order management system. If these components are perfectly integrated with the core software, the hotelier will have no problem issuing correct invoices and securely accepting contactless payments. In addition, the order manager will send the guest's order immediately to the right department, ensuring efficient and well-coordinated work of all hotel teams.
These software components guarantee an uninterrupted workflow for any hospitality business. They are an absolute must in the operation of large hotel chains and bring added value to independent hotels. However, given that each business has its own needs and traits, its up to you to decide what kind of software you really need. The only thing to keep in mind is that you need a property management system that would perfectly integrate with your current or future software.
Advantages of PMS for hotels
● Client focus
On all stages - from booking a room on a website to sharing feedback - property management system allows understanding the needs of each particular client, create a comprehensive profile and provide customized services. Peer-to-peer accommodation is getting increasingly popular, with such players as Airbnb and Couchsurfing International Inc., and creates a huge competition to hotels. However, a professional approach and personalization might be a distinct advantage for the latter. With such software, you learn about your guests' preferences and may even predict their desires. By the same token, it makes your marketing, for instance, via emails, more effective, as you know better what information is relevant for your potential or existing clients before, during or after their stay.
● Employee efficiency
Mobile-based PMS untether hotel staff from their desk, which leads not only to their ability to provide guest services, such as check out, anywhere on the property. Effective communication is crucial for any business, and management on mobile devices allows notifying personnel on any issues in real-time, so they can be fixed immediately. And last but not least, innovative approaches are appealing to tech-savvy employees.
Value for hoteliers
● Rates on point
PMS can substantially improve a hotel's financial results with smart revenue management. Through sophisticated algorithms, the system analyzes trends in demand, related to events, season, weather, and other factors, makes forecasts and allows adjusting rates accordingly. By processing year-on-year revenue and budget figures, the software can predict future sales. It generates market segment reports on a regular basis, which can be compared with competitors data. All KPIs for a given period can be viewed in a convenient format and contrasted against past data or future goals.
● High sales
Alongside the right pricing strategy, selling as many rooms as possible through many channels is essential for profitability. The multi-channel approach also allows reaching different audiences. A channel manager within a property management system synchronizes availability and rates across various platforms to avoid overbooking and handle late cancellations as all developments are accessible instantly from a single interface.
How hospitality trends influence hotel PMS
● Cutting-edge technology
Zealous travelers, techies, quick decision-makers and individualists, millennials are shaping the service industry to a great extent, including hospitality business. They want seamless and effortless technology, simply because it's cool and saves time. Omnitasking mobile apps for check-ins/check-outs, ordering services, getting a fast response to complaints, sharing impressions on social media, to name just a few, have already become part of the guest experience in many hotels. Some even have robots on their staff that can make an extraordinary room delivery or inform guests on places of interests nearby. However, eventually, it may lead to the spread of unmanned hotels. Will they outflank traditional ones? Probably not, as human touch will always be in demand. Apparently, the hospitality industry will take the best from both worlds.
● Comfort and sustainability
Health and wellness, as well as a respectful attitude to natural resources, will remain among the major priorities for millennials. And the Internet of Things will continue revolutionizing the hospitality realm to provide win-win solutions in these directions. Voice control over room temperature and humidity, device settings, lightning, etc., and the PMS software remembering these choices to apply during the next stay is something that can take the client satisfaction to a new level. Moreover, the air-conditioning and heating in the room can be off while the guests are outside, and only activated through an app on their smartphones, say, only half an hour before their return. The IoT, integrated into hotel PMS, will play a big role in energy efficiency. Apart from saving costs, this approach may win green-minded clients. From hotel employees perspective, getting automatic notifications when it is time to restock beverages or toiletries, or whenever there is a breakage, will improve efficiency even further.
How to choose the right PMS to meet your needs?
Want to purchase a new hotel management system, but don't know what to look for? To make this task easier for you, we’ve decided to compile a quick checklist of things worthy of your attention. Check it out before making the final decision!
Some of the must-have features of the best PMS include:
- ● Round-the-clock access to data from anywhere
- ● A multifunctional Front Desk
- ● Support of the classical and dynamic price models
- ● Functionality that helps you to detect repeat customers
- ● A Guest App for self-service interactions
However, before comparing different PMS options, you need to decide which type of software is best for you. Do you need a cloud-based one or a local one? Are you interested in some specific modules or in a comprehensive solution? Let's get down to the advantages of each of these options.
Cloud-based vs. on-premises
Cloud-based PMS solutions compare favorably to on-premises software. First of all, the pay-as-you-go model is more cost-efficient with no large upfront investment. Prices start from as little as 99$ (or even lower) per month for a full package of services and usually depend on the number of rooms in the property. Secondly, cloud-based software is easy to integrate and set up. Also, it is upgraded and updated automatically as it is usually hosted by the vendor. And thirdly, as mentioned above, it is accessible on mobile devices, which gives greater freedom to employees.
Process-specific vs. complex
Modern property management systems are multi-component, and each feature can be purchased as a separate product. Would you like to automate reservations, tap into the digital marketing potential, or improve interaction with your guests? Perhaps, your whole PMS is outdated and does not let you be fully competitive. With so many offers on the market, from simple applications to state-of-the-art all-in-one platforms, it is easy to choose the one that will match your current business needs.
HotelFriend software benefits
HotelFriend provides a unique hotel software ecosystem with scalable solutions to suit your property. We offer a modular approach, which allows any type of hotel to manage all business processes effectively, from tax and accounting reports to rate management and marketing. Moreover, you can construct your own PMS and thus avoid paying for the features you are not using. With HotelFriend task-specific and complex software tools, you can make your business more profitable, keep employees and clients satisfied and streamline all business operations. For instance, you can boost your sales with our Voucher Manager - create attractive deals and market on multiple platforms easily. Our Mobile Concierge App ensures smooth interaction with your clients through an instant messenger and allows them to make direct bookings in just a few clicks, fast check-ins/check-outs, book activities and plan their stay.
Our software is cloud-based, intuitive, and tailor-made, which means you do not need a whole IT department to deploy it seamlessly and adjust it to your needs. Easy third-party integrations, versatility, and unified, user-friendly interface even for multi-property hotels are also among our advantages.